Footballer’s cardiac arrest highlights importance of CPR

By June Shannon CPR News   |   15th Jun 2021

Without CPR or a defibrillator chances of survival decrease by 10 per cent every minute.

The quick action of team mates and officials to save the life of Danish footballer Christian Eriksen has highlighted the need for bystanders to react with speed to a cardiac arrest, the Irish Heart Foundation has said.

Eriksen collapsed on Saturday during the first half of Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 match against Finland before being treated on the pitch and hospitalised.

“We know that without CPR or a defibrillator, your chances of survival decrease by 10 per cent every minute, so because of the quick actions of everyone around him, Christian Eriksen survived,” said Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager at the Irish Heart Foundation.

“He was fortunate that it happened in such a public place with people on hand to immediately begin CPR. We know that 70 per cent of cardiac arrests happen in the home, so it is vital that people understand what to do in that situation.”

Mrs Sinnott added, “speed is of the essence – speed in recognising cardiac arrest, calling the emergency services, performing compressions and in using the AED (automated external defibrillator). It is the difference between life and death.

“In Christian Eriksen’s case, it was recognised early that he was having a cardiac arrest, he was helped immediately and they had a defibrillator on his chest very quickly. And the fact that it was his teammates who were first to perform CPR on him before the medics got there, shows that anyone can do it.”

“It is really important for people to realise that they don’t have to be a trained doctor or medical professional to perform CPR ,"

Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager , The Irish Heart Foundation

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart beats fast and wildly or stops beating altogether. This can happen due to an abrupt disturbance in the heart’s internal electrical system that normally regulates the heartbeat. The heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other vital organs and without treatment, the outcome is usually fatal.

Data from the 2019 Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Report shows that Ireland has bystander CPR rates of 84 per cent.

“If the electrics in your heart go wrong you need a defibrillator to reset them, while CPR compressions act as a pump for the heart. We need to get more defibrillators on chests and we would ask everyone to check where their nearest one is and whether it is accessible all the time,” Mrs Sinnott said.

“We have some easy to follow instructional videos on our website and we encourage everyone to watch them, even if you have been trained in CPR in the past.

The first step in CPR is to call 112 or 999 and the second is to push hard and fast on the centre of the chest.

“It is really important for people to realise that they don’t have to be a trained doctor or medical professional to perform CPR – anybody can do it and you cannot do any harm,” she added.

As a leading training provider, the Irish Heart Foundation has courses across all the links in the chain of survival.

The Irish Heart Foundation provides free CPR training in post primary schools


Teaching post primary school children the life saving skill of CPR

The Irish Heart Foundation would like to invite post primary teachers to register their interest in the CPR 4 Schools programme for the upcoming academic year in September.

By signing up for free CPR training in your school you can help us to train the next generation of lifesavers.

The CPR 4 Schools programme provides training for teachers who are given the knowledge, tools and resources to deliver the training directly in their schools.

Each teacher trained by the programme receives access to an online portal with videos that play the course directly into the classroom with a suite of resources and lesson plans.  Each new school will receive a free manikin training kit which remains the property of the school so that the CPR programme can be run in the best way that suits the school. This package is worth more than €1,000.

The CPR 4 Schools course covers how to respond in a cardiac emergency, CPR compressions and how to use an AED.  The programme is designed to be easily run in schools with minimal set up and takes just 60 minutes per class group to teach this lifesaving skill.

For more information or to sign up for the new academic year please email:


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Related Topics

bystander CPR cardiac arrest CPR CPR 4 Schools defibrillator out of hospital cardiac arrest

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